A $93 “top off” charge for my rental car?

Question: I rented a car from Hertz in Miami a few months ago. Before returning it, I filled it up with gas. When I turned the car in, I double-checked the fuel gauge, made sure my receipt reflected that the car had been returned full, and, thinking I had myself covered, flew home.
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Why do I have to pay for the flat on my rental car?

When Alicia Reise and her husband rented a car from Hertz in England recently, they had no reason to believe the car was in less than perfect condition.

But there were two little problems. First, Reise thinks one of the tires was faulty. And second, the car didn’t have a spare tire; instead, it came with a canister that could be used to fix a leaky tire, she says.
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Can a car rental company double my rate because I’m not American?

There’s something funny going on with car rental prices, and Hal Gordon wants answers.
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Did Hertz overbill me for my fender-bender?

This is the “after” picture of Christy Nidle’s Hertz rental last year in Perugia, Italy. “I changed lanes and scraped a car passing me from behind,” she says.

Oops. But what should have been a routine damage claim, wasn’t.

“I’m going to leave out the colorful account of the scene in the rental office,” she told me. “Suffice to say there was much arm-waving and yelling in Italian.”

And then there was the matter of the final bill. Between the Hertz location, the repair shop and her credit card, no one could seem to agree on how much she should pay for the damage.
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“Before” and “after” pictures of your rental car? Now that’s customer CRVIS

One of the most common questions I get from car rental customers who are facing a damage claim is: “Why can’t they take pictures of my car before it leaves the facility?”

Actually, they can.

Hertz is testing a new technology called Car Rental Vehicle Inspection System (CRVIS) that photographs every car leaving the lot, stores high-resolution images and allows the car rental company to compare them with pictures taken of the same vehicle after it is returned.

“It protects customers and makes the claims process far easier for employees,” says Kamil Walus, a location manager at Newark.

CRVIS has been shrouded in mystery since it was announced in 2009. Some industry observers have suggested photographing a rental car – something travel experts have long recommended car rental customers do in order to prevent a fraudulent damage claim – was impractical.
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Ridiculous or not? Oops, I forgot to check my credit card statement

It happens all the time.

I get a plea for help from someone like Eugene Teow, who appeared to have been scammed on a recent trip to Australia. In his case, it looked as if Hertz had indiscriminately sucked $3,857 from his bank account for damaging a rental car — money to which it wasn’t entitled.

But then, when I ask the company about the overcharge, it turns out that the only problem was that the customer had failed to check his credit card statement. Because if he hadn’t, he’d know the money — or at least most of it — had been returned.

Reviewing your credit card statement is the first step anyone must take when they’re looking for a refund. Because some of the time, they’ll find the money has been quietly put back into their account without notification.
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Case dismissed: Charged $183 for four hours on my rental car

Phillip Barszczowski’s Hertz car, which he booked through Priceline, cost $122. Not bad for a four-day rental in Wyoming, considering what rates have been doing lately.

But when Barszczowski told the agent he’d have the car back by noon on the fourth day, she had some bad news: His reservation lasted only until 8 a.m., and the four extra hours would more than double the price of his car, to $305.

Priceline’s reservation said he had until 1:30 p.m. The Hertz agent didn’t care. “She told me Priceline does this all the time and they get you a great deal and then make up for it later,” he says.
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Wrongfully charged for my expired tags

Question: While we were visiting Philadelphia a few months ago we parked our Hertz rental car downtown. Almost immediately after walking away, I saw an officer stop by the car and start writing a ticket. I ran over and asked him if I had parked in the wrong place or something like that and he informed me that it was simply an issue of my tags being expired. I told him it was a rental and he suggested I just give the ticket to Hertz and inform them that if they took care of the tags, the ticket would be canceled.

When we returned the car to Hertz, my husband handed the ticket to one of the agents and explained what happened. They wrote on the windshield with a wax pen “expired tags” and told us they would take care of it for us.

Fast forward to about a month later, and we received a notice from the collection agency arm of Hertz ATS Processing Services. I called and tried talking with them and they said they would look into it, but couldn’t really do anything and then recently sent us another bill, this time with a higher fee for being late. I tried calling Hertz and after being bounced around from person to person and explaining my situation, no one seemed able to help. I’m not really sure who I should talk to next. Can you help? — Meaghan Dellar, Cincinnati

Answer: Hertz should have ensured the tags on your rental were up to date. And it should have paid for your ticket, as agreed.
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I thought car rental insurance was optional

Question: For nearly a month now, I’ve been fighting to recover more than $280 from Hertz in connection with a reservation for a Mexican rental I made through Hotwire.

I reserved a Hertz car for a week in Mexico for an estimated $113 — a flat $90 for the rental of the car, and an estimated $23 in taxes and fees. I did not pay Hotwire at the time of the reservation and understood that I would pay Hertz directly when I rented the car.

At the Hertz desk in Mexico, I was presented with an entirely different set of charges. There, I heard for the first time about the mandatory Mexican liability insurance. I did not have the option of declining the insurance, which amounted to approximately $110 for the week.

But that wasn’t the only surprising charge. The price of the car had mysteriously risen to around $108, and I was assessed a “service charge” of approximately $135. No one at Hertz or Hotwire has yet been able to tell me what that’s about. Together with two smaller fees of about $44, my total bill came to $397.

The day after I returned from Mexico, I contacted both Hotwire and Hertz. Although their stories have varied slightly over the weeks, each company tells me that I should go talk to the other. Hotwire says it has no control over what Hertz bills me, and Hertz says it has no control over what Hotwire quotes me.

Given the enormous discrepancy in price and the hours I’ve spent trying to get this matter resolved, I am seeking a refund of the full $283 difference between the $113 reservation price and $397 charge. Hertz has my money, but Hotwire made the representations that led me to the Hertz desk in Mexico. Can you help me get my refund? — Brian Perez-Daple, Arlington, Va.

Answer: You should have been charged the rate you were quoted. When you weren’t, Hotwire should have asked Hertz to refund the money on your behalf.
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Help! My car rental company is taking me to court

tireQuestion: We recently rented a car through Hertz in Scotland. When we returned the vehicle, we asked a representative if he wanted to inspect it. He declined.

To our surprise, we later found a $250 charge on our American Express for a damaged tire. But that didn’t make sense. If it had been damaged we wouldn’t have been able to drive the car back to the airport.

We disputed the charges, and American Express sided with us, noting that Hertz had not sent enough information as requested to validate their claim.

We thought all was said and done. But now we have received two letters from Hertz claiming that they are starting legal proceedings against us.

I called Hertz and they claimed they did not receive anything from American Express regarding the dispute. Our credit is perfect and I am very, very worried about this. Do we just need to pay and move on down the road? — Tracey Brown Osborne, Dallas

Answer: The lawsuit threat is probably a bluff. I’ve talked to enough car rental claims specialists to know that in all likelihood, the letter from Hertz was a form response to losing its dispute with American Express.
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